The Social Animal

I also finally took a whack at David Brook’s The Social Animal. It had some interesting things, but having read both The Age of the Unthinkable and Moonwalking with Einstein, there were a lot of repeated themes. He talks about unpredictability (Age), about expertise (Moonwalking) and other things I’ve seen elsewhere. It is meant to be a sort of digest of consensus, so I wasn’t entirely surprised. What seemed clearest to me is that it wasn’t the kind of book that brought me joy. For Brooks, it describes the lives of two very happy people, who lead full and satisfying lives. I found it less so in two ways: 1) it seemed to be the kind of happy life people in Brooks’ social circles might want, rather than the satisfying life others might want (that’s just a gut feeling), and 2) it just didn’t seem as happy to me as Brooks seemed to think it was. In fact, their lives seemed a bit hollow to me – but perhaps that reflects my own perspective.


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